Competitive advantage in the digital age: It’s not just about technology

By Mark Schroffel

Everyone knows business is all about people.

Why, then, do we get lost – mesmerised even – in what technology can do rather than what it actually does for us? Technology enables business. And, for some businesses, being on the cutting edge can make all the difference in the world. Customers want their needs met conveniently and efficiently.

Technology helps businesses deliver on that. But, as an intelligent reader, you know it’s only part of the picture. Businesses are well advised not to lose sight of the fundamentals of strategy: Setting direction, establishing capability and executing on commitments.

Digital strategy is the same – except it occurs in an environment of fleeting opportunities that requires an ability to quickly adapt and readjust the plan. So, yes, the answer is agility. But that doesn’t mean abandoning core business to attend to the latest disruption. Maintaining a stable and reliable focus on delivering value to customers is surely the best bet when it comes to staying in business and outlasting the latest fad.

The obvious paradox is that achievement of business goals through solid value propositions is not enough.

In fact, you can be assured of one thing: Competitors are out there, right now, looking for new ways to use technology to disrupt and outdate your business model. (Think Airbnb or Uber.) So, what can you do? You need to be in the same game, disrupting and challenging your own business to better engage with customers and deliver even greater value than before.

I think the essence of good strategy, in the digital age, revolves around the intelligent blending of the human touch with digital know-how to deliver on the value proposition.

What are you doing, in your business, to get in front and stay there? Let us know by posting a comment.

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